GM Belous Wins Northeast Open

GM Vladimir Belous took first place at the Silver Anniversary of the Northeast Open (June 7-9, Stamford, CT) with a score of 4.5/5. This year’s tournament was the largest Northeast Open since Continental Chess resumed holding the event in 2003, drawing 224 players. While just over 200 players is not a huge event by CCA standards, the $10,000 guaranteed prize fund was enough to draw three GMs, two IMs, and one FM in the 50 player Major section.

Vladimir Belous (photo David Hater)

There weren’t any upsets in round one, but there were a significant number of masters being held to draws. The most significant of these was NM Alejandro Botta drawing GM Sergey Kudrin. Six masters surrendered draws, and thirteen players entered with half point byes, so the number of perfect scores was significantly lower than could be expected for a tournament of this size. Most of the first round winners were over 2200 and the GMs were playing players in the 2250-2300 range in round two.

Kudrin was able to rebound from his first round draw as he was paired to the lowest rated master with one point and he was able to defeat NM Yefrim Treger. GM Alexander Ivanov was not as fortunate as he lost to NM Joseph Han. IM Justin Sarkar got a bit of good luck as he was erroneously paired with a player who had properly requested a half point bye. The oversight on the TD staff resulted in an easy point by forfeit for Sarkar. IM Alexander Katz had the biggest rating mismatch as he was paired against the player who received the bye in the first round. Meanwhile on board one, Belous was having a typical day at the office and turned in a nice win over NM Max Li.

The number of perfect scores at the merge had dwindled significantly, with only six perfect scores entering round three: GM Belous, IMs Katz and Sarkar, FM Carissa Yip and NMs Andrew Ardito and Joseph Han. There would be no upsets in the perfect scoregroup this round as Belous defeated Yip, Katz defeated Ardito and Sarkar defeated Han. Going into the Sunday money rounds there would be just three players at 3-0: Belous, Katz, and Sarkar.

Belous was paired with Sarkar, taking the black pieces. He sacrificed a pawn in the opening and obtained some play, but Sarkar was better. By the time material equality was restored in the late middle game, Belous had a slight edge, but he was not able to obtain anything decisive. It was a well played fighting draw by both sides.

This left the door open for Katz as he was paired down to the highest 2.5 point player – NM Max Lu. But Lu was able to pull off the upset and catch up with Belous and Sarkar. Also joining the leaders was NM Danila Poliannikov. These four leaders – Belous, Sarkar, Lu, and Poliannikov – all headed to the last round with 3.5/4. Sarkar opted before the tournament for a last round half point bye. This set up a last round pairing of Belous with white against Lu and Poliannikov being paired “down” to GM Ivanov. Belous won against Lu and Ivanov defeated Poliannikov.

This left the final standings with Belous at 4.5 winning $1200 and Ivanov, Katz and Sarkar sharing 2nd-3rd winning $366.67 each. NM Ardito also scored 4-1 (losing only to Katz) to win first place Under 2300. Pollianikov, Han, and Lawyer Times spilt second Under 2300 winning $83.34.

There was a nice miniature in the last round between Jason Lu and Ankit Raparthi. Black takes a poisoned pawn and pays a heavy price.

The section winners were:

Under 2100

Shawn Swindell & Frank Prestia, 4.5/5, $700

Under 1800

Isaiah Glessner, 5-0, $800

Under 1500

Sergei Zakharov, 4.5/5, $1400

Under 1200

Ian Dailis & Phil Lee, 4.5/5, $300

Mixed Doubles

Chloe Gaw & Phil Lee and Nicole Zlotchevsky & Shawn Swindell, 7.5, $225 to each team

Blitz Tournament

Yefrim Treger, 7.5/8, $85

NTD Steve Immitt directed for Continental Chess Association assisted by Jabari McGreen, Danny Rohde, F. Prestia, and R. Prestia.

Full tournament details can be found at www.northeastopen.net.

Previous Continental Chess tournaments can be found at the Continental Chess website at http://www.chesstour.com/cross.html.

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